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- Ryan Tattle's emotional first goal highlights his recent emergence
Ryan Tattle's emotional first goal highlights his recent emergence
The sophomore forward has played some of the best hockey in his collegiate career over the last two weekends.
Photo: Ian Bethune
When Ryan Tattle scored on Saturday against Dartmouth, he celebrated by looking to the sky and putting his hands to his face before getting wrapped up by his teammates. The tally had special significance — it was his first collegiate goal, and it came on the one year anniversary of his mother’s passing from cancer.
Sometimes, things just have a way of working out.
SAVE THAT PUCK!!!
Ryan Tattle first career goal gives us the 4-0 lead
— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC)
Nov 25, 2023
While still in juniors, Tattle raised over $100,000 for cancer research as part of the “Score For Cancer” campaign he began. Not only had his mother battled the disease, one of his former teammates was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as well.
The campaign was centered around pledges for every point he accumulated. Initially, he hoped to raise $50,000 but as the donations came in and the points piled up, he increased the target to $100,000. On Feb. 26, 2021, Tattle and the Coquitlam Express wore special jerseys during a “Score For Cancer” night, which raised $20,000 on its own.
Thanks to a 60-point season, Tattle eventually hit the lofty mark.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Score for Cancer would grow this big. This entire campaign wouldn't have been possible without the support from all of you, thank you 💛🖤
— Ryan Tattle (@RyanTattle)
Jul 24, 2022
Since he arrived at UConn as a freshman, Tattle’s path has been bumpy. Hockey took a backseat in 2022-23 — he left the team for a stretch that fall to be with his mother — so this season has been almost like a do-over of his first year.
With two games still left in the first half, Tattle has already played in as many contests this season (13) as last and appears to have turned a corner over the last two weekends. He notched his first collegiate points with a two-assist night in an overtime loss to Boston College and then had another two-point game with a goal and an assist against Dartmouth.
All four of Tattle’s points this season have come over the last three games. He’s emerged as a dynamic threat on the Huskies’ emerging fourth line and is playing the best hockey of his collegiate career so far — capped by his emotional first goal.
“It's not easy to come in here and make a big difference,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the win over Dartmouth. “It's nice to see him really starting to come into his own right now.”
The journey to Maine
When UConn travels up to Maine on Saturday, it won’t make any stops on the way. In past years, the Huskies have stopped at Bowdoin College — Cavanaugh’s alma mater — to practice as a way to break up the roughly five-hour drive to Orono. But based on how the schedules fall both at UConn, Bowdoin and Maine, the Huskies will go straight up after practicing in Storrs on Saturday.
“We couldn't get ice at Maine, so it made sense to practice here and drive up,” Cavanaugh explained.
The day between games will help, as will the fact that it’s the final game of the first half before a nearly month-long winter break. It’s not like either contest is at risk of being a let-down going in, either.
“I just think it's a great way to end our first half because we've always had tremendous battles with Lowell…and then we get to travel up to Maine which, if it’s not the toughest road win in our league, it’s certainly in the conversation,” Cavanaugh said.
Hockey East rink ranking
Alfond Arena is home to the best atmosphere in Hockey East and there’s not a particularly close second. So where does every barn rank in terms of atmosphere?
Alfond Arena (Maine) — The students sit on a balcony that overhands the end of the ice where opposing goalies spend two periods. Every time Maine scores, a few shirtless students run around the concourse with cowbells. It’s not easy to get to Orono, but the atmosphere makes the drive worth it.
Schneider Arena (Providence) — This place gets loud, but the students aren’t particularly creative. Still a fun place to watch a game.
Tsongas Center (UMass Lowell) — Even though it’s a touch bigger than it needs to be, UMass Lowell draws well and the fans get loud and stay that way all game long. They get up for the routine plays — not just the goals, which isn’t always the case at other places.
Whittemore Center (UNH) — One of the best student sections in Hockey East, the Whittemore Center is arguably the most underrated barn in the league. The crowd is into the game even when the team is bad. Now that the Wildcats have had a resurgence, the atmosphere should be even better.
Matthews Arena (Northeastern) — This is No. 1 on my list of Hockey East rinks, but its atmosphere suffers from a lack of non-student fans. The student section is always packed and ready to go, but the rest of the seats are generally pretty empty.
Gutterson Fieldhouse (Vermont) — Few places can get as loud as The Gut, but Vermont’s recent struggles have taken their toll on the fanbase. The volume usually only cranks up after goals.
Agganis Arena (BU) — In terms of amenities, Agganis Arena is the nicest rink in Hockey East. But the capacity is too big, so all the empty seats have a tendency to put a damper on the atmosphere.
Mullins Center (UMass) — The Minutemen get good, engaged crowds but they play in a basketball arena with a few thousand more seats than are needed for hockey games. It would be an electric place to play if it were a more intimate venue.
XL Center (UConn) — This is most hit-or-miss crowd in Hockey East. When the lower bowl is filled and everyone’s into it, it’s a great hockey venue. But all too often, the place can turn into a morgue — as it did on Saturday against Dartmouth.
Conte Forum (BC) — For a program with such an extensive history of success, they rarely have even good crowds. The students have started showing up again, but they’re responsible for a majority of the attendees.
Toscano Family Ice Forum (UConn) — The tiny student section combined with the lack of hockey culture on-campus for so many years means there’s still plenty of room for the atmosphere to grow at the newest rink in the league. The Alaska-Anchorage game last season showed a glimpse of the potential, but it’s just not there yet.
Lawler Rink (Merrimack) — Merrimack used to get great student crowds, but then it renovated Lawler Rink, moved the student section from behind the goal (and split it between two sides of the ice), so now they don’t show up. The improvements made it a better venue but a worse atmosphere.